“And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying ‘So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.’ And when he saw that, he arose and fled for his life and came to Beersheba, which belonged to Judah and left his servant there.”
I Kings 19:1-3
Mountaintop victories can soon lead to valleys of defeat, depression and despair if we forget to hold high “the shield of faith” (Eph. 6:16).
Such is probably the best word to describe what happened in today’s Manna when Elijah stopped listening to God’s Voice and tuned in to Jezebel’s voice instead. He knew this wicked queen, who was raised in Sidon—a commercial city on the Mediterranean Sea and well-known for its idolatry and vice—was a tyrant who corrupted her husband and promoted pagan worship throughout the nation.
Yet, after having called down fire from Heaven and disposing of 850 false prophets (I Kings 18:36-40). . .praying there’d be no rain for 3 ½ years and then praying for its return (17:1-2; 18:41-46; James 5:17-18). . .and raising the son of the widow of Zarephath to life again (17:17-24). . .this man of God was now running from the hands of a wicked woman. And, soon he’d be sitting under a scrawny juniper tree, wishing he were dead (19:4)!
But, we shouldn’t be too hard on him—for we are, so often, just like him.
One minute we’re so close to Heaven that we could almost reach out and touch God; the next minute we’re down-in-the-dumps, mournfully singing “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.”
Let’s face it:
We all have “bipolar faith!”
Like David, one minute we’re declaring “The Lord is my Light and my Salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the Strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Ps. 27:1). And, the next minute we’re crying “No man cares for my soul” (Ps. 142:4b) and “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Ps. 22:1).
But, it need not be that way, dear Pilgrim, IF we’ll remember to “cast down our imaginations and anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God by bringing every thought into obedience of Christ” (II Cor. 10:5). Or, another way to say it is “Refusing to dwell on suspicions and speculations by making sure nothing blots out God’s Face from view as I lasso every wayward thought and bring it under Jesus’ Lordship.”
Ups-and-downs. Highs and lows. Delights and despair.
Such is so often our rollercoaster ride of faith. That’s why we must daily spend time alone with the Savior, “renewing our minds” (Rom. 12:2) by “studying to show ourselves approved unto God” (II Tim. 2:15) as we “hide His Word in our hearts” (Ps. 119:11). Help us, O Lord.
June 8, 2011